Sales Centers - Bangladesh

In keeping with the spirit of poverty alleviation and the need to accelerate the pace of our country’s development efforts, Grameen Check's mission is to promote and expand the handloom industry in Bangladesh.

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International Outlets

Grameen Felissimo is a social business initiative that was launched on February 21, 2011. The purpose of this initiative is to benefit the rural Grameen Check fabric producers through global collaboration. Grameen Felissimo will use Grameen Check fabric to produce innovative products of ingenious designs.

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Social Effects

Social Business Initiatives

Grameen Shamogree has been a steadfast supporter and promoter of Social Business initiatives. Since its inception, it has enabled the impoverished weavers to create their own businesses, which are considered Type 2 Social Businesses. In 2009 Grameen Shamogree established two Type 1 Social Business companies outside Dhaka. These are Grameen Shamogree Purbanchal Ltd. in the eastern part of Bangladesh, and Grameen Shamogree Uttaranchal Ltd. in the northern part of Bangladesh. Grameen Shamogree contributed equity for these two Social Business companies.

Post Cyclone Sidr Relief

Cyclone Sidr was a devastating cyclone in the Bay of Bengal that resulted into one of the worst natural disasters in Bangladesh. Sidr hit Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, resulting in massive loss of life and property. More than 3,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were evacuated. In the aftermath of the cyclone’s devastation, Grameen Shamogree came forward to provide relief to the victims. In two tranches Grameen Shamogree distributed clothing valued at nearly three million Taka to the victims who had lost everything in Patuakhali and Pirojpur districts.

Monga Initiative

Monga, a time of joblessness and economic vacuum, is a regular annual visitor in some pockets in Bangladesh. It starts around middle of August and continues until October. Chilmari is one such Monga affected area in Bangladesh where Grameen Shamogree has undertaken an initiative to create employment and economic activities during Monga. Under this initiative poor women are trained to produce various textile-based products. Grameen Check provides all inputs and buys back all the finished products.

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Message from Professor Muhammad Yunus

Professor Muhammad Yunus

“Grameen had neither any intention nor any qualification to get involved in the garment industry of Bangladesh. But somehow we got drawn into it. There are over a million weavers in Bangladesh with approximately half a million handlooms in their possession. Over eighty per cent of textile requirement in Bangladesh are met by these weavers through handloom production. One will tend to imagine that the weavers are having good business from this captive market. They are not. Since most Bangladeshis are very poor they cannot afford to buy clothes as often as you'll imagine. Unless a piece of clothing becomes absolutely unusable one does not buy another piece of dress.

Many of the weavers are Grameen borrowers. We see how difficult their lives are because of very low demand and stiff competition from machine-made clothes. Many of the weavers remain without work during slack season.

In the early 1990s we came to know that Bangladesh imports a handloom product called "Madras Check" valued at US $ 80 million for Bangladeshi garment industry to make garments for North American and EU countries. We could not figure out why Bangladesh imports such huge quantities of handloom fabric while our weavers remain half-starved part of the year. One explanation we got was that our weavers cannot produce the quality that is demanded by the international market. We wanted to find it out. We produced samples and circulated than around. Everybody agreed that the samples were as good or even better than the imported fabric.

Then we got another explanation why this cannot be procured from the local weavers because "they are not organized; we cannot go door to door to each weaver to buy hundreds of thousands of yards we need; now we place orders to Indian suppliers and they supply whatever quantity we need, right on time". We said Grameen Bank can play the role of the supplier. We can accept orders and remain responsible for quality and delivery date.

We started receiving orders. We named our product "Grameen Check". We organized some weavers to do the job. These weavers never had worked for the international market. Everybody in the villages was thrilled to know that the fabric their village was making will be worn by the Americans and the Europeans. The weavers took it as a great appreciation of their work. They worked hard to make sure users like it.

Now business is picking up. The more we deliver, the more the garment industry takes us seriously. This can grow into a billion dollar business --- developed around home-based weavers. We can supply "Grameen Check" to garment industry anywhere in the world --- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Viet-Nam, or anywhere else. We are inviting consumers and producers everywhere to try us. Please make room for social-consciousness-driven entrepreneurs in the world economy."

Grameen check and its fashion have become widely known within and outside the country, and the Grameen Check become one of the success stories of micro-financing and how it creates a people-based local industry.”